Written by Joshua Griffin
The Phantom Editor Strikes Again
Published on April 29, 2005
Attack of the Phantom
This is an amazing DVD. Technically sound. Dolby digital. Commentary track and "infinifilm" extras. Even some scene changes and rotoscoping - WAY more advanced than the Episode I cut, which was essentially a cut of the film that lasted maybe an hour. Clearly there was a lot of thought put into this edited version of Lucas' film. This isn't just cutting out characters he didn't like, but really looking at the psychology of the characters and the telling of the core story. The audience seems to be his primary concern. I think it you watched it, you might be surprised at some of the insights the Phantom makes on the film. It is easy to critisize Star Wars films. It is another thing altogether to recut the entire movie.
He starts out by deleting Captain Typho's "I think we're safe" line from the beginning of the film. The Phantom calls it an Friday the 13th moment. If you click the phantom logo that pops up, you can hear an expanded commentary with clips from the horror movies as well.
If you remember the Phantom Edit of Episode I, it was most memorable for removing Jar Jar from the film. Well, this isn't simply cutting a character from the film. Jar Jar is in the film! But several of his scenes are cut down to remove his dialogue, to make the audience feel that he has grown up. "Use him with value" and to help the audience "feel he is intelligent" and that he knows what he is doing.
There were a series of cuts soon after, like Anakin nose dive in chase scene and his weird laughing, the ireverrant power cuplings scene and other awkward humor lines. In one instance the Phantom even moved ambience sound to rear channels in night club scene.
One of the most agressive cuts was the entire Kamino dart subplot - all of the robot analysis scenes are cut along with Dexter Jettster because a simple "Kamino system" line has been added to the Zam Wessel death scene.
He also chose to cut the Yoda and the Younglings scene out of the film, feeling it hurt the Obi-Wan character.
The Phantom even worked in deleted scenes, particularly some of Mace on the Jedicouncil hanger and Anakin visiting the home of Padme. In the director's commentary audio track you hear him explain the changes and defend his actions. He also added in a sad moment of Anakin when Padme says "he's not my boyfriend."
Another aggressive cut was the Jango Fett/Obi-Wan fight. Now it is down to a teaser to build up the event later in the film. At one interesting point in the DVD, he laments the Separatists not becoming the start of the Rebellion. When Dooku comes into the shackled Obi-Wan, it would have been great if the Count talked about the eventual Empire and the was essentially the Father of the Rebel Alliance. He was ahead of his time, perhaps falsely motivated, but in the end was correct.
He talks about the sound design being flawed, like when Anakin and Padme are entering the Genosian the audience can hear the enemies before the Jedi senses it. He changes the sound design so that the Jedi reveals to the audience the problem. He also added in new soud effects and reedited the droid sequence entierly. He didn't like the R2-D2 jets but in the end couldn't get away from them. He felt it was a problem for Lucas, so he invented a new tool for R2 to have. Why doesn't he have them later in the Classic films?
One change I really did like was the fact that the Phantom redid the subtitles in places - the best one being the Death Star cameo. He took away the "duh" moment for the audience, as if you couldn't see it was the Death Star in the earlier two shots.
In the end, the Phantom Editor makes some great points and defends them well in the commentary. Some people just whine about not liking the films, and this guy takes a step at trying his best to "correct" them. Regardless of your opinion of the second prequel, you owe it to yourself to track down this DVD and see for yourself all of the changes and weigh in if indeed it does improve the movie.
Interesting idea, and very well exectued.